Everybody always says that swears are the first words you start to pick up on in a foreign language. Or maybe they say that they’re the ones you should pick up. Either way, I am very capable of insulting someone should the occasion arise. (These are the phonetic spellings in the dialect I’ve heard in Abu Dhabi.)
Kelb: Dog. But more along the lines of bitch.
Hywan: Animal. Students say this all the time. They find it very insulting.
Arie fik: Fuck you. I don’t hear it that often, but it’s worth knowing.
Elhas teesi: Lick my asshole. I hear this often between friends in a joking manner.
Kusumak: Mother’s vagina. It’s highly insulting.
Kusuktak: Sister’s vagina. Also highly insulting.
Sharmoota: Bitch or whore. Most common insult about a woman behind her back or when she does something displeasing.
Ibn al sharmoota: Son of a bitch.
Gahba: Also bitch or whore. Used less frequently here.
Kol khara: Eat shit.
Air: Penis. (Students often giggle when the word “ere” comes up in English text because of this.)
Interestingly, I always know when my boyfriend is talking to his cousin because his language suddenly includes many of these words. He says sharmoota more times in a conversation with his cousin than most people say in a lifetime. They think it’s fun to just string together a whole lot of swears at each other. It’s cute, maybe? And now you can do it too!
(If you have an interest in learning Arabic beyond the swears, the best way to do it is definitely with Pimsleur. It doesn’t have the swears, but it is the best for learning good pronunciation and confusing native speakers into thinking you truly speak the language, even before you truly do.)